New Delhi: Indian peacekeepers under the UN mission in Congo have repulsed a major strike by around 30 members of a militia on their post in the troubled North Kivu province, in which three attackers were killed and two Indian soldiers sustained injuries.
The attack on the peacekeepers’ post was carried out on Friday in Lubero by the Mai Mai group, which has recently been targeting Congolese Army positions, army spokesperson col. Aman Anand said. Giving details of the incident, he said around 30 militia men attacked the post in Lubero, which is about 300km north of Goma. It is the main town of North Kivu province, where dozens of illegal armed groups control several villages.
“Indian peacekeepers repulsed the attack in which three of the attackers were killed and one was wounded," col. Anand said, adding two Indian peacekeepers were also injured in the attack. Currently, India has a total of 2,664 military personnel deployed in Congo under the UN mission there.
“Friday’s attack was a rare frontal assault on the UN forces deployed for protecting civilians in Congo," said the army spokesperson. Previously, an attack by rebels on an Indian post took place in 2010 in Kirumba in North Kivu province when three Indian soldiers were killed after the attackers were able to intrude the base, army sources said.
They said the Indian brigade currently conducts an average of 2,300 patrols per month in the troubled region, apart from ensuring protection of civilians. They said another important task of the Indian peacekeepers is to provide assistance in undertaking targeted operations against illegal armed groups (IAGs).
As per reports, President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate last December has fuelled unrest in the country’s eastern provinces. India has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. The country has currently deployed more than 7,600 military and police personnel in UN peace operations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, West Asia, South Sudan, Sudan and the Western Sahara.